Democrats' George W. Bush Nostalgia Smacks of Political Opportunism

Democrats' George W. Bush Nostalgia Smacks of Political Opportunism
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I had a good chuckle this week watching Democrats and left-leaning media types fawning over former President George W. Bush

Our 43rd commander-in-chief gave a serious speech about the state of American politics, rebuking a national "discourse degraded by casual cruelty." He warned that “bigotry seems emboldened,” a feeling many Americans have had since the neo-Nazi/white supremacy march in Charlottesville, Virginia.

President Bush said many things, all of them decent and civil. He was the same “W” as always, humble in demeanor and sincere in what he had to say. Some political orators give us soaring rhetoric but lack the underlying conviction that lets you know their words come from the heart. This has never been a problem for George W. Bush. He means everything he says and you know it, and he always makes those who served in his campaigns and administration proud.

Because Bush’s speech was immediately interpreted as a presidential censure of the current Oval Office occupant, Democratic pundits heaped praise upon Bush. Although Bush never mentioned President Donald Trump, the narrative set up immediately – Bush had warned the nation forcefully about “Trumpism” and its impact on our national unity.

If you were an alien who landed on planet Earth this week, you might get the impression that Bush’s presidency was transformative in its appeal to both parties, his views so widely respected that in the not-so-distant past the United States had undergone some sort of Golden Era of Politics. From 2000-2008, everyone agreed to be nice to each other because of the goodness and decency of a humble Texan.

As we know, however, nothing could be further from the truth. 

Bush’s presidency began with an election dispute settled by the Supreme Court. His legitimacy was never truly accepted by Democrats, who later called him everything but a good milk cow. Some wanted to impeach him. They called him racist. They screamed “blood for oil,” which sounds even dumber now than it did then (and it sounded pretty dumb then, let me tell you). 

Many wanted to throw Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and anyone who worked for them in the jailhouse for war crimes and other made up stuff. Most defaulted to calling Bush “stupid” because, well, that’s what liberal elites think of people with a Texas accent.

The rhetoric of the American left during Bush 43’s term was hateful, devoid of connectivity to actual events. It degraded our politics as much as anything Trump tweets today.

The George W. Bush speaking to us last week in New York was consistent in disposition, policy and politics. He wants a United States engaged in the world, compassionate to those who seek her sanctuary and vigilant against foreign actors who wish us harm. Same old 43.

This newfound Bush nostalgia smacks not of legitimate respect but of political opportunism, the latest harbinger of the rising tribalism plaguing American politics. How shallow must your political beliefs be if you are willing to tout the words of a man you used to think was a stupid racist war criminal who should be in jail? 

The left’s praise for old guard Republicans wasn’t confined to Bush. Arizona Sen. John McCain gave a similar speech in which he mocked “half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.” Former Vice President Joe Biden even introduced him at the event!

Today, because he assails Trump’s worldview and occasionally votes against Trump’s agenda, McCain is a hero to the left. In 2008, while seeking the presidency, he was just a feeble old man who couldn’t even use e-mail, according to the Obama campaign.

Even Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 nominee, earned praise from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi last week. At an event hosted by the Los Angeles Times, she said: “Wouldn't it be nice if [Romney] were president of the United States?"

Pelosi, of course, worked hard to portray Romney as a dangerous Republican who hates women and minorities. The Democrats of 2012 called Romney a murderer and cast him as “extreme” on women’s health care because he was – gasp – pro-life. Oh, they even fabricated an attack claiming that Romney – the straightest arrow to ever run for president – cheated on his taxes.

But today, horrified by Trump, people like Pelosi (who thinks its fine to sell aborted baby parts) want Romney in the White House? Spare me.

The flippancy with which Democrats treat their political rhetoric is astounding. Yesterday’s war criminals, invalids, tax cheats and murderers are today’s indispensable statesmen, not because of their principles and decency but because Democrats lost an election and still can’t figure out why.

Democrats have spoken of every Republican presidential contender since Bush the same as they speak of Trump, and now they are surprised that Republicans nominated and propelled someone like Trump to the presidency? Life imitates art, and you get what you deserve. 

Cry wolf long enough and no one believes you when the wolf comes.

But don’t hold your breath waiting for them to own or understand it. People as lost and empty as today’s Democrats wouldn’t know shame or regret if Trump Tower landed on their head. 

Scott Jennings has advised President George W. Bush and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He is a partner at RunSwitch Public Relations and can be reached at scott@runswitchpr.com or on Twitter @ScottJenningsKY.



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